Journey to Descipleship Presentations:
Sarah Haigh Hauk – Testimony
Good morning, Holy Cross. I am delighted to have this opportunity to speak to you this morning.
I was a lifelong member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Decatur – I was baptized, attended kindergarten, and was married there – until this past October, when Gary and I discovered Holy Cross. After the death of my beloved mother, who fought a tough battle with Parkinson’s disease for nearly 30 years, and my own personal illness with a MRSA infection, my husband Gary and I came to a point in our lives where we were spiritually malnourished. Over the course of a year and a half, Gary and I visited 5 Episcopal churches and 2 Lutheran churches within a ten-mile radius of our home—leaving each church feeling empty and discouraged.
It was a blessed day for us on Sunday, October 4, 2015 when we decided to visit Holy Cross.
We were nervous at first, but were warmly greeted in the Holy Cross parking lot by Bill Day. As we entered the church, Willard also ushered us into the church with a friendly smile and hello. I immediately felt warmth in the environment of the church.
We found seats in a front pew – only to be tapped on the shoulder by Urcelle, who smiled and welcomed us and insisted that we move back a row to sit beside her. She wanted to be sure that we felt at home!
That Sunday was my first experience of singing “Let there be peace on earth.” I felt an overwhelming sense of warmth, community, and acceptance.
The liturgy, the special program of music that blends different traditions, the bells, the incense—all spoke to those parts of our spirits that were longing to be fed and nourished.
The wonderfully loving people of Holy Cross are unlike any church community I have ever experienced – and we love the many accents we hear every Sunday.
We don’t know everybody’s name yet, but we know many, and we are glad to be known.
This is a loving community that cares beyond just seeing you at church on Sundays.
There is a distinctive quality and ministry at Holy Cross. Having experienced that uniqueness, I believe that this is a community whose light needs to be spread more broadly in Decatur and the Atlanta area. The Journey to Discipleship is our stewardship program this year, and I was delighted to be asked to serve on the stewardship team. The Journey to Discipleship is an invitation to think about stewardship as more than our monetary pledge to the operation of the church. It is that, of course, but it is also an invitation for each of us at Holy Cross to think about our opportunities to help spread the light of ministry from this church, which is really the light of Christ at work right here at Holy Cross. So please think about your role of ministry through Holy Cross and how YOU can best carry that out to feed other hungry souls who are all around us.
Patrick Harris - Time and Talent
My dear Sisters and brothers of Holy Cross:
As we awaken to new life that comes with the season of Spring, Easter, celebrating that we serve a resurrected Lord Jesus Christ; and while we eagerly await the coming of the Spirit advocate with the season of Pentecost; let us take a few moments to reflect on some appropriate words. In the fashion of the Acts of the Apostles where they encouraged one another to live in servitude and grow in fellowship within the body of Christ. Today is a perfect time to revive a previous message of Stewardship.
You may have already heard that Stewardship is: "All that we do, with all that we have, all of the time." What this is: Everything we do with everything that exists in our lives, is some form of stewardship. Simply, we are already stewards. It would serve that as we strive to get better at everything in our lives, this is one area that we should also seek to improve. To get a better understanding of the meaning of Stewardship, I needed only to look closely at the word itself. STEWARDSHIP is an eleven letter, 3 syllable word. Each letter taken and assigned it's own meaning, makes this average length word mean so much more.
S - Spiritual. Stewardship is about our spiritual walk. Everything about how we present our gifts to God's service is and should be spiritual.
T - Testimony. I said testimony and not testify. Testify is an account you give. Testimony is an account which is given (for you) - as in: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and Glorify your father which is in heaven."
E - Eagerness. Being so thankful for blessings we receive, that we eagerly look for ways to show that.
W - Worthy. About our faith journey and stewardship preparing us to be worthy to enter into God's kingdom
A - Actively seeking out new opportunities to serve God.
R - Reflection. May our acts be a true reflection of what God has already done in our lives.
D - Descipleship. Aspire to giving up everything to follow Christ and serve God with our gifts of time, talent and treasure
S - Service. It's about serving God and not about us.
H - Harvest. It is fitting that we recognize that our many gifts are being harvested and will be put to use to serve God
I - Intent. Let us go about our daily lives looking to serve God intentionally.
P - Purpose. We, as children of God, are here for God's purpose.
The three key areas of stewardship we look at closely are: time, talent and treasure. We are, a multi-talented church, and our talents are not all equal, but the sum of those talents are our strengths as this church. Our treasures are also not equal. So each person's covenant with God on their financial gifts will be different. Time however, is one area where we are all equally rich. Each of us who is awake this morning was equally Blessed with the last 7 days, or 168 hours. We were blessed with yesterday, 24 hours or 86400 seconds. We equally have the opportunity to invest our time serving God. God saw us through our last week and yesterday.
At this time, we find ourselves as Holy Cross members at a crossroads, trying to re-engange, rebuild and look at the next chapter in our lives. In this time of transition, it's important to hold fast to what attracted us to this place. We must continue to live into what keeps us here. I sincerely believe that we all want to be more active in fulfilling God's call in our lives. The message today is to remind us of how important it will be for each of us to step in, step up and change how we continue the work that God has in store for us. Our deliberate focus on the elements of Stewardship we just highlighted, along with a deep commitment to serving God through our individual actions, and through supporting our church's work in the community and beyond, are the very things that give glory to what God has already done in our lives.
This is indeed a call to action, a reminder to serve. A chance to lighten someone's burden, starting here at our Church home, and in the broader community. Please continue to prayerfully consider the needs of Holy Cross, and embrace our call to serve others. Let us eagerly and intentionally seek ways to repay God's blessings of our talents by working together to keep God's kingdom near and fulfill God's will on earth. Let the practice of servitude that finds it's beginning in us within the walls of this sanctuary, take us on a lifelong journey of deliberate service, far beyond this community. May God be ever glorified by the shining of our light before others, through our answer to God's call to excel at being stewards.
Michelle Joel -
Stew' ârd˙ship, n.
- The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. (Webster’s Dictionary)
- All that we do with all that we have once we say we believe. (The Episcopal Church)
We count on financial pledges to help us continue Christ’s work. Financial gifts help us serve those in need, provide programs and services to our faith community, and maintain our facilities. Our whole life is a partnership with God. We cannot “give” anything to God; but we can “fulfill” God by using our Gifts wisely and sharing with others. Each of us can live as God’s steward.
“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” Luke 12:48
For more information, please contact the church office. Phone: (404) 284-1211 E-mail the church office
Giving Time and Talents
Members of our parish give of their time and talents in numerous ways – serving as ushers and greeters for worship, Sunday School teachers, choir members, volunteers on mission projects, altar guild, the list goes on and on.
To learn more about ways to give of your time and talents, please call the church office at (404) 284-1211 and we will gladly connect you with someone to assist you with information on your area of interest.